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Annual Maintenance Extends the Life of Your Deck


To ensure years of carefree, easy living on your deck, take time each year for an inspection and some simple preventative maintenance.

The finish protecting your deck won't last forever, so plan on cleaning and resealing your deck at least every other year.

Follow these steps:

- If your deck doesn't have any stubborn stains, wash it thoroughly with a mild household detergent. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

- To get rid of mildew, scrub the area with a combination of water and household bleach, or use a commercial deck-cleaning product.

- Stains are the preferred finish for decks. Ask for one specifically designed for outdoor use. Penetrating oil-based stains, which protect beneath the surface of the wood, are best.

- Use a clear or semi-transparent stain if you like wood grain to show through.

- Solid-color stains are best if you prefer the painted look.

- If your deck has already been painted, you won't be able to stain over it. Thoroughly scrape the deck, and repaint it with an exterior latex- or alkyd-base floor paint.

- Clear finishes, such as varnish or polyurethane, should be avoided. They don't stand up as well against moisture and sunlight.

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